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Thread summary:

Moving to Florida: St. Petersburg, job market, cost of living, housing stock, safe area.

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Old 07-15-2007, 02:04 PM
 
Location: Logan Square, Chicago
28 posts, read 87,018 times
Reputation: 23

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My husband and I are wanting to move to Florida in 2 years when he finishes school. We have a son who is now 20 months old. All of my life I've been visiting Florida, and I absolutely love the St. Petersburg area. I have family that lives scattered around the state and a few friends in St. Pete and they all love it. But I've been reading so many negatives on this board that I'm beginning to get worried. The reasons we want to move are:

1) Can't stand the cold anymore, and I love Florida weather, even in the summer.
2) There are NO jobs here where we live in central Illinois, other than some in retail and food service. (My husband and I will both be in the tech. industry upon finishing school).
3) Nothing to do, no family activities, parks, or places for adults to go and have some fun.
4) The cost of living is low, but the housing stock and places to rent are garbage.
5) School systems are crappy.. and I know they're not the best in Florida either but I'd at least rather live somewhere that's warmer, more culturally diverse, and has lots more to do if the schools aren't going to be the greatest either way. My husband and I are both smart and will make sure to be actively involved in our child's education.

So, I've been researching for awhile now and everything seemed great at first, but now I'm a little freaked out about moving to the St. Petersburg area. I keep hearing about the crime rates, and I'm curious about how scared I would really have to be on a day-to-day basis about the safety of my family? I don't want to live somewhere that I'm going to fear for my child's life every time he goes to school or even when we're asleep at night. Is it really bad for everyone, no matter what the circumstances? Or will common sense and choosing a good neighborhood keep us safe? I've heard that downtown St. Pete is a pretty decent place to live for families. Is this true?

Also if anyone has any other negatives or positives about living in that area with a family, please let me know. Thank you.
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Old 07-15-2007, 02:08 PM
 
106 posts, read 537,597 times
Reputation: 106
Default Advice

I should say on my part I have not experiences any problems my family lives in the Brandon Valrico area 25 minutes away from downtown Tampa this areas look and feel safe a lot of communities with nice homes, crimes is everywhere in big cities yes maybe job pay less but life it self it's more interesting in Florida so my advice is move down here enjoy the tropical breezes only place in the US where you can see tropical plants and waters.
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Old 07-15-2007, 02:25 PM
 
35 posts, read 176,360 times
Reputation: 27
Most families do not live in downtown St. Pete - they live in the surrounding suburban areas of St. Pete. The downtown area is full of new condos and condos still being built, and some are VERY expensive, and I don't think they would be a good choice for children.

The crime rate is not anything to be scared of - it's actually much better than it used to be, thanks to BayWalk (an area of shops, movie theaters, eating places and the waterfront). I would go down there during the day or early evening without worrying.

IF you like the heat, this is the place for you. You can fry an egg on the sidewalk this time of year and the humidity is awful! I think the east coast has a better breeze, but no matter where you go, it's HOT! Everyone keeps saying they hate the cold - I can't deal with the heat anymore. Most everyone stays in the house during the day in June, July and August - and September and October are really not much better. Just keep in mind Pinellas is the smallest county with the densest population in the state. There's something like 3000 people per square mile. The county is only 280 sq. miles in size. It just gets worse getting around every year. But good luck to you if you want to move to Florida!
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Old 07-15-2007, 02:39 PM
 
975 posts, read 3,515,063 times
Reputation: 263
ignore the negative people on here--make up your own mind based on visits and do your homework, and you'll be fine. A lot of what's on this board is just whining.
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Old 07-15-2007, 05:08 PM
 
7 posts, read 12,506 times
Reputation: 13
Default Don't believe the hipe. Its nonsense.

Ok, so you want to move to Florida. First of all it has to be your own decision. However, if you want my honesty about Florida I'll tell you. I recently moved from Florida in the fall of 2006 after being there all of my life. My last place of residence was in Brandon, Florida for the past three years. I can tell you that Brandon is a nice place to live among Valrico and North Tampa Palms. However unless you are bringing a pot of gold, be prepared to spend 60% or more of your income on rent/mortgage and utilities if you decide to move in any of these areas. Not to mention property taxes and car insurance which is another story.

Anyway, after relocating to Texas I finally realized that I spent too many years in a city that lags behind in their school system, jobs and overall development. Tampa is a medium size country town with mostly rednecks, retirees, yankees, college kids and your everyday poor to medium working class. To get ahead in Tampa you either need to know someone who sincerely wants you succeed with them in the upper level jobs or kiss butt to get to the top. a lot of people in Tampa will try to use you and that is one of their biggest problems. If you seem to be outspoken more educated or has some intelligence about yourself then you are posed as a threat.

Tampa has a lot of racism and some of them will try to hold you back from getting the top positions or even getting your foot in the door. None of this has to do with being negative because I was paid well on my last job there, until the company went out business last year. But those favors don't automatically happen in a city like Tampa.They are still with those old-fashion mind-sets and stero-types that only certain people should hold top positions. I'm not talking about being the lead cook at a restaurant, a shoe store or the top manager for some kind of mediocor business. I'm talking about the jobs that can really pay your bills so that you won't have to rob peter to pay paul and still have money left to spend elsewhere. Such as human relations, accounting, finances and executive jobs for those like me who holds a MBA in management and a BA in HR.

Forget about ALL THE HIPE you heard about Florida. Yes the weather is good until hurricane season comes. Everybody gets really crazy and start emptying all the shelves in the grocery stores. Your'e sware its a famine going on the way these people be reacting. I can admitt that these hurricanes is no joke in Florda. Just be prepared to join the crowd.I went to visit Tampa last month and all I can say is that I am GLAD that I finally took the steps to change my life. The homes in Texas is far better than those in Florida for the price. The weather may be colder but its a lot cleaner than living in Florida period. The culture is more diverse and the jobs pay a lot more than Florida cheapy jobs. By the time we got to Alabama we could see the smokey fog hanging over Florida from the wild fires like a sheet. We almost changed our mind but in stead went to Orlando.

If you are looking for great wages, low cost of living and a good school system than Florida is not the place. But if you are looking for sunshine and blue skys, beaches and entertainment then Florida may be the place. Always remember, Disney World, Universal Studios, the beaches, and all the golden sand in Florida will not pay your bills. Too many people are overrating florida but the truth is the whole state EXECEPTIONS to Maimi (my original home town) lags too far behind. Tampa doesn't have mass transportation like Miami does. So if you move to Brandon be sure to have a GOOD running car or else you'll be bumming for a ride. No city buses in Brandon or Valrico. I can go on and on but hopeful you get the point. JUST SAY NO to Florida. Its only good if you want to visit and THATS IT!

Last edited by itsbetterhere; 07-15-2007 at 05:56 PM..
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Old 07-15-2007, 05:48 PM
 
975 posts, read 3,515,063 times
Reputation: 263
wow, that was a discouraging post, but it sounds like you are trying to be fair and present both sides...

ItsBetterHere, what part of texas did you move to?

Quote:
Originally Posted by itsbetterhere View Post
Ok, so you want to move to Florida. First of all it has to be your own decision. However, if you want my honesty about Florida I'll tell you. I recently moved from Florida in the fall of 2006 after being there all of my life. My last place of residence was in Brandon, Florida for the past three years. I can tell you that Brandon is a nice place to live among Valrico and North Tampa Palms. However unless you are bringing a pot of gold, be prepared to spend 60% of your income on rent/mortgage and utilities if you decide to move in any of these areas. Not to mention property taxes which is another story.

Anyway, after relocating to Texas I finally realized that I spent too many years in a city that lags behind in their school system, jobs and overall development. Tampa is a medium size country town with mostly rednecks, retirees, yankees, college kids and your everyday poor to medium working class. To get ahead in Tampa you either need to know someone who sincerely wants you succeed with them in the upper level jobs or kiss butt to get to the top. a lot of people in Tampa will try to use you and that is one of their biggest problems. If you seem to be outspoken more educated or has some intelligence about yourself then you are posed as a threat.

Tampa has a lot of racism and some of them will try to hold you back from getting the top positions or even getting your foot in the door. None of this has to do with being negative because I was paid well on my last job there until the company went out business last year. But those favors don't automatically happen in a city like Tampa.They are still with those old-fashion mentalities and stero-types that only certain people should hold top positions. I'm not talking about being the lead cook at a restrurant, a shoe store or the top manager for some kind of mediocor business. I'm talking about the jobs that can really pay your bills so that you won't have to rob peter to pay paul and still have money left to spend elsewhere. Such as human relations, accounting, finances and executive jobs for those like me who holds a MBA in management and a BA in HR.

Forget about ALL THE HIPE you heard about Florida. Yes the weather is good until hurricane season comes. Everybody gets really crazy and start emptying all the shelves in the grocery stores. Your'e sware its a famine going on the way these people be reacting. I can admitt that these hurricanes is no joke in Florda. Just be prepared to join the crowd.I went to visit Tampa last month and all I can say is that I am GLAD that I finally took the steps to change my life. The homes in Texas is far better than those in Florida for the price. The weather may be colder but its a lot cleaner than living in Florida period. The culture is more diverse and the jobs pay a lot more than Florida cheapy jobs. By the time we got to Alabama we could see the smokey fog hanging over Florida from the wild fires like a sheet. We almost changed our mind but in stead went to Orlando.

If you are looking for great wages, low cost of living and a good school system than Florida is not the place. But if you are looking for sunshine and blue skys, beaches and entertainment then Florida may be the place. Always remember, Disney World, Universal Studios, the beaches, and all the golden sand in Florida will not pay your bills. Too many people are overrating florida but the truth is the whole state EXECEPTIONS to Maimi (my original home town) lags too far behind. Tampa doesn't have mass transportation like Miami does. So if you move to Brandon be sure to have a GOOD running car or else you'll be bumming for a ride. No city buses in Brandon or Valrico. I can go on and on but hopeful you get the point. JUST SAY NO to Florida. Its only good if you want to visit and THATS IT!
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Old 07-15-2007, 06:31 PM
 
7 posts, read 12,506 times
Reputation: 13
I didn't mean to sound discouraging but I like to help people make the right decision based on what I have already experienced and not someone else. I moved to the suburbs near Dallas, TX. Something I should have done long time along. The best part about Texas is being able to visit other states within 1-8 hour drive. I can be in Okalahoma within 1 hour. The culture is totally different from Florida. Its more diverse and not like a white and black thing going on. In other words everyone has an opportunity to get ahead if they want to. I even noticed a HUGE difference in Texas school system compared to Florida. The teachers are paid very well. They work with the students in excellence by helping them to succeed academically.

Last edited by itsbetterhere; 07-15-2007 at 06:40 PM..
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Old 07-15-2007, 06:46 PM
 
4,418 posts, read 9,308,761 times
Reputation: 4134
Two years is a long time, and plenty of things can change in that time, both good and bad. I moved to Tampa in 2003 and it was affordable, both rentals and houses and insurance were reasonable. Then the housing bubble hit and prices skyrocketed in late 2004 & 2005, and a very active hurricane season roared thru the area. Housing and insurance are now astronomically high but house prices are falling and sales are flatlining. All in 4 years. I scoped out Phoenix for relocation in 2002, but the main jobs there were retail/service and pay was low. Went back there last month on vacation and the change was amazing, job growth is thru the roof and wages are considerably better than they were. All in 4 years.

My point is, it's too early to make a final decision. A city can boom or bust in 2 years, it can even go full circle. You're better off checking out cities closer to your move date, to see how they fared in the interim and what opportunities are available closer to your move.
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Old 07-15-2007, 06:49 PM
 
4,418 posts, read 9,308,761 times
Reputation: 4134
One more thought...what is important to you now in a city may not be important in two years. So don't sweat your decision yet. JMHO.
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Old 07-15-2007, 07:05 PM
 
Location: Tampa
68 posts, read 198,608 times
Reputation: 20
I have to disagree with Itsbetterhere's post. Tampa is NOT full of rednecks and racists. In fact, Tampa is fast becomming extremely culturally diverse, much like Miami was in the 1980's. Jobs are available in Tampa/St Pete depending on what industry you are in. Tech/Medical/Service jobs are plentiful and pay well. Tampa/St Pete is congested. Expect delays wherever you go. The public transportation isn't really the best (but neither is the laughable Miami Metrorail either....yes, I am originally from Miami as well). I despise oyr education system here so I can't say anything positive on that note. Luckily, we do have many teachers that do care and compensate for the nonsensical bureaucracy of our schools. Its hit or miss if your child gets one of those, however.
Personally I'm SICK of hot weather. I'm hoping to move my family north next summer to get away from the Florida sunshine. I also don't enjoy the beach all that much.
Hurricanes are a fact of life and always have been. The odds are, you will not be seriously affected by one regardless of what the doomsdayers and the media tell you. Listen and take the proper precautions. Period. At LEAST hurricane's come with a warning. I've been in Florida 42 years.....I was directly hit ONCE in 1992. (Yup, this was a BAD one). Still, we survived and moved on as most do when struck with a natural disaster.

St Pete is a lovely area. Good luck to you.
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